Indoor Physical Activities for Toddlers

toddlers playing

Toddlers are known for being an active bunch, but parents can feel like they are short on ideas when it comes to toddler activities. Here are some activities you can do at home with your toddler to make sure your child stays active and engaged. Plan to do several activities each day and stretch each activity to 10 minutes or longer if your toddler's attention span will allow it.

Physical activity guidelines for toddlers are for at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity per day (led by an adult) and at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activities (active free play).

Obstacle Course

Get creative and use whatever you have around the house to build a toddler-appropriate obstacle course. Set up a climb over a big pillow followed by a crawl through a cardboard box, a circle around a footstool, and finally a dash through a doorway. Add to the fun of this toddler activity by starting the race with a whistle blow and taping up a paper ribbon in the doorway to break through at the finish line.

Hide and Seek

Some toddlers might be frightened by hiding or not being able to find you if you hide, so exercise caution when playing this game. Hide in obvious areas with a leg or arm visible at first until they are comfortable playing.

Hide and Seek With Toddlers

You can make little noises by clearing your throat or coughing to aid them even further in finding you.

Initially, when you begin the game (by counting and then announcing "ready or not, here I come") you may need to count for them. You can also just count very slowly to three in order to teach counting—and then work up incrementally to 10.


Dancing is an excellent way to work in some physical activity. Toddlers are naturally inclined to love music and move their bodies along with it. You don't have to focus on anything too structured, just pick three random songs throughout the day and start grooving.

Yoga and Other Organized Exercise

If you already do some type of organized exercise at home like aerobics or yoga, get your toddler involved. If you use this as a time for yourself and feel like it's going to be tough to get in a hard workout with them beside you, just invite them in for the warm-up or maybe just the last 10 minutes.

You can also build in an additional toddler-friendly 10 minutes at the end to cool down or even add a special yoga sequence just for them. Even though this is time for you, it's a good idea for them to share this with you and learn from your good example.


Teach your toddler to stretch each morning. It’s a great way to squeeze in some physical activity. Call out stretches like, "reach to the sky and keep reaching," "touch your toes," or "bend to the side." Just keep it simple and show them how to stretch, at first, and then they will be able to do it on their own.


The point of a parade is something near and dear to the heart of a toddler—it's all about showing off and celebrating. So anytime you have cause throw on a happy tune and march around the house. A new dress? New shoes? A new stuffed animal or toy? Potty training success? These are all reasons to happily march through all the rooms of the house.

Scavenger Hunt

Pick several toys or other objects and hide them around your home. You can create a list with drawings or pictures of the objects and help your toddler cross them off. Don't hide things in difficult spots and exercise caution when hiding beloved objects like security blankets or pacifiers. Some toddlers love this and think it's very fun to find them, while others meltdown at the mere thought.

Find the Timer

Hide a ticking kitchen timer set to five minutes. Your toddler should be able to detect the ticking noise getting louder as they get closer. You can also indicate closeness by saying "closer/farther" or "hotter/colder" or by increasing or decreasing the frequency of clapping as they approach the object.

Up and Down Game

Let your toddler hold an object (flags are especially fun for this game) and tell them to raise it high if you say a word that is high or holds it low if it's something that is low. So, if you say "ant" then they would hold the flag low and if you say "sky" they would hold the flag high.


Balancing items are more than just a physical activity, it builds cognitive skills and helps your toddler learn body awareness. To start, use something flexible like a beanbag and have your toddler try to walk a few feet with it balanced on the back of an outstretched hand or on the head.

Once they've experienced success with a soft, flexible item, try other tasks like balancing a small board book on the head or walking across a room with a small ball inside a spoon.

Ball Activites

This may sound simple, but if you have the space to play with balls inside or in the garage, go for it. It can be fun. If you have little space or don't want things getting knocked over or broken, you can still have fun with a ball. Sit with legs spread and feet touching and roll a ball back and forth to each other. Extend the activity by trying to roll and catch with just one hand or by catching the ball with eyes closed.

Another fun ball activity is a bit like a relay race. If you have any area that forms a circle in your house, begin in one room and run through other rooms in a perfect circle. You can also use a couch or a rug as destination spots.

Tell your child to stay in one spot while you run around with the ball. Pass the ball to them and tell them to follow the same route to get the ball back to you. You can also use other objects like a stuffed animal or doll.

Clothespins and Milk Jugs

Take a half-gallon or gallon plastic milk jug and clean it thoroughly. Purchase the old fashioned ball-top clothespins that don't have a spring. They are constructed of a single piece of wood and fit easily inside the opening of the jug. For fine motor practice, let your toddler fill the jug.

For a fun physical activity, let them hold the jug upside-down by the handle and shake it vigorously until all the clips fall out. Then make cleaning up another fun activity!

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  1. Nemours Foundation. Kids Health. Fitness and Your 2-to-3-Year Old. Updated May 2019.